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29 Who Shine

Friday, May 3, 2019 2:00 p.m.
Massachusetts State House

“29 Who Shine” recognizes outstanding graduating students from the public higher education system who embody the vibrant future that we all envision for the Commonwealth.



View more photos from the event on Flickr. Credit: Photography by KulbakoPhoto.com

Baker-Polito Administration Honors the "29 Who Shine"

Students from State Universities, Community Colleges, and UMass Lauded for their Contributions to the Commonwealth

Boston, MA - May 3, 2019 - Public college and university students who have given back to their communities while excelling academically and in many cases overcoming personal hardships will be recognized at the State House today at 2 p.m. by Governor Charlie Baker, members of the Legislature and leaders in higher education during the 9th annual “29 Who Shine” awards ceremony.

The “29 Who Shine” awards are presented to one student from each of the Commonwealth’s 29 public campuses, including the 15 community colleges, nine state universities and five University of Massachusetts campuses. The awards are given to students who succeed not only in their academic pursuits but in their efforts to strengthen their local communities. Some have overcome personal battles, including addiction, domestic violence, and homelessness, to become leaders on their campuses, while others have helped create solutions to a broad range of issues facing the Commonwealth, from climate change to refugee resettlement.

“These students’ stories are moving and inspiring and provide a powerful reminder of the importance of a college degree,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “It is an honor to be able to recognize them for their hard work, dedication and contributions to their communities.”

“The extraordinary volunteer work that many of these students contributed to their campuses and communities serves as a model to all of us, and we are honored to celebrate their contributions today,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. 

Among this year’s student honorees, 11 are planning to pursue their studies in STEM or health-care related fields, three are pursuing futures in environmental sciences, and seven are planning careers in social work and human services. Six of the students were adult learners (ages 25+) and five are immigrants to the United States. Many of the student honorees used their talents to help others by initiating volunteer work that helped the hungry and homeless, survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, and tutoring for students with learning disabilities.

The students honored today have shown dedication to their studies and a commitment to others that bodes well for them and the future of the Commonwealth. We are proud of their success and excited about what they do moving forward,” Education Secretary James Peyser said.

“Today we see 29 living examples of what can come from state support of public higher education,” said Carlos E. Santiago, Massachusetts Commissioner of Higher Education. “The ’29 Who Shine’ remind us that when individual students succeed, the Commonwealth as a whole benefits from their knowledge and commitment to serve others. I could not be prouder of this year’s stellar nominees.”

The 29 public college and university campuses in the Commonwealth selected the honorees for the “29 Who Shine” awards based on criteria established by the Department of Higher Education. Each of the "29 Who Shine" named a faculty or staff mentor who provided guidance and support throughout the student’s years in college. These faculty will honored at a reception immediately following the awards ceremony.

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